Massachusetts Proposes Ban/Phase-Out of 140+ Plants

J.E. Shields
Wed, 07 Sep 2005 07:55:42 PDT
Hi all,

I agree with Boyce's remarks entirely.  Where Boyce responds to this 
dilemma with reason and logic, I react with sarcasm and cynicism.  It is 
painful to think about how far we have changed the world around us from a 
natural state of nature.  It is also painful to think how we would 
ourselves survive in such a world.

Indeed, humans started cultivating the Americas when they arrived at least 
12,000 years ago.  They soon wiped out -- probably with the help of a 
changing post-glacial climate -- most of the megafauna such as mammoths, 
mastodons, sabre tooth cats, horses, and probably many more species that 
I'm not aware of.  They changed the face of North America forever.  When 
Europeans arrived ca. 400 years ago, they just accelerated the same basic 

Nature is in a constant state of flux.  The "balance of Nature" is a 
dynamic process, not a static condition.  There is no going back to the 
past.  If we care at all, the most we can do is try to preserve some 
remnants of the past in the midst of our vigorous civilization.  It 
certainly requires conservation, but it will always of necessity be very 
limited in extent.  Let's face it:  Most people care more about their 
immediate needs for food, shelter, clothing, and the luxuries their 
neighbors may have, than they do about nature and what used to be.

Most of us in this group do care about plants, wild plants, cultivated 
plants, pretty plants, useless plants.  We are where those plants will find 
temporary refuge, if they find it at all.

The dandelions can fend for themselves, of course.

Jim Shields

At 09:26 AM 9/7/2005 -0500, you wrote:
>At best this is a complicated and emotional issue for many of us, myself 
>There are those within the conservation movement that feel if we just ... 
>(fill in the blanks) then natural areas will not have to be managed and 
>all of our problems will be solved. One of the blanks that has been 
>proposed is the control (to varying degrees) of some/all plant taxa 
>associated with the human ecosystem. Simplistic solutions to complicated 
>problems always fail, and always create additional problems. I don't have 
>an answer, but I am wary of simplistic solutions (historical parallel to 
>be found in Prohibition as a solution to perils of alcohol).
>Boyce Tankersley

Jim Shields             USDA Zone 5             Shields Gardens, Ltd.
P.O. Box 92              WWW:
Westfield, Indiana 46074, USA
Tel. ++1-317-867-3344     or      toll-free 1-866-449-3344 in USA

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